Analysis of The Abstract Wild by Jack Turner

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Analysis of The Abstract Wild by Jack TurnerJack Turner’s The Abstract Wild is a complex argument that discusses many issues andultimately defends the wild in all of its forms. He opens the novel with a narrative story about atime when he explored the Maze in Utah and stumbled across ancient pictographs. Turner tellsthis story to describe what a truly wild and unmediated experience is. The ideas of the aura,magic, and wildness that places contain is introduced in this story. Turner had a spiritualconnection with the pictographs because of the power, beauty, and awe that they created withinhim upon their first mysterious contact. Turner ruined this unmediated experience by takingphotographs of the pictographs and talking about them to several people. His second visit to thepictographs was extremely different- he had removed the wild connection with the ancient muraland himself by publicizing and talking about them. This is Turner’s main point within the firstchapter. He believes that when we take a wild place and photograph it, talk about it, advertise it,make maps of it, and place it in a national park that we ruin the magic, the aura, and the wildnessof that place. Nature magazines, photographs, and films all contribute to the removal of our wildexperience with nature. It is the difference between visiting the Grand Canyon after you haveseen it on TV and read about it in magazines, or never having heard of the place and stumblingacross it on your own during a hike. Unfortunately, almost every wild experience betweennature and the public has been ruined by the media. Through Turner’s story he begins to explainthe idea of the wild and its importance and necessity of human interaction with the wild. The second chapter contains two major ideas. The first is Turner’s defense andexplanation of the appropriateness of anger. Turner thinks that society wrongly taught thepeople to repress and fear their emotions. Turner finds primal emotions to be necessary to oursurvival, as well as the survival of the wild. He explains that anger occurs when we defendsomething we love or something we feel is sacred. He reminds us to cherish our anger and use itto fuel rebellion. Turner criticizes the cowardice of modern environmentalists in the followingpassage: “The courage and resistance shown by the Navajos at Big Mountain, by Polish workers,by blacks in South Africa, and, most extraordinarily, by Chinese students in Tiananmen Squaremakes much of the environmental protest in America seem shallow and ineffective in

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